The annual Italian-American celebration has taken place for the past 117 years in Williamsburg, and on Sunday, the pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel announced the cancellation in a letter posted on social media. “We await word from the City on what we may plan in the future and will revisit our options closer to the Fall,” pastor Jamie Gigantiello wrote. This marks the first OLMC Feast cancellation since WWII.
A shortage of volunteer lifters threatened the main event in 2019, but a volunteer drive successfully recruited enough people to carry the four-ton giglio.
“The cancellation of this year’s feast was a painful decision for our committee and it is certainly painful for those of our community who look forward to this tradition each year,” John Perrone, a rep for OLMC Feast said. “From a financial perspective, the feast is the main revenue source of our Parish as well. Our hope is to potentially have the ability to celebrate, on some scale, later in the year.”
If you live anywhere near the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church on North 8th and Havemeyer, then certainly you have experienced the majesty that is the Giglio Feast. It’s not just a 12-day church carnival with midway games, ferris wheel, sugary drinks and fried foods, but the fest also carries with it a strong Italian tradition.
This year I decided to roam around the Our Lady Of Mount Carmel Feast during the day when the street was resting from the evening’s festivities. While taking the above photo, a real NYC cop (imagine a thick Brooklyn accent) asked “Hey, where you from?”
“We live in Ridgewood,” I said, already getting annoyed at what he was getting at.
He wasn’t satisfied and since we look (and are) hipsters he said, “No, where are you from?”
“I’m from Florida,” Jon politely answered.
“I’m from Middle Village,” I answered not so politely, then said, “Where are you from?”
“Rockaway,” he said.
“Far Rockaway?” Jon asked.
“Do I look like I’m from Far Rockaway?”
He was white. My blood began to boil.
“Why are you asking us where we are from?” I said.
At this point I think Jon was trying to drag me away, luring me with the goldfish toss.
“I’m trying to assess the area ya know,” he said, “I thought you were hipsters tourists. I mean, who takes a picture of a braciole sign?” He said it like BRA-JOEL.
“A photographer,” I said.
He walked away mumbling. I drowned my rage (and all the things I should have said like, “I’m sorry I didn’t know it was your job to “assess” where people are from?”) in a huge bag of zeppoles. It’s hard to hold back my loud mouth from Queens voice; sweet fried dough coated in powdered sugar works.